Murderous Phrases

Sometimes writing can be the ‘bane of my life’ as I struggle with motivation, procrastination and any other barriers that life throws at me. Recently, whilst procrastinating, er I mean, ‘researching,’ I came across the origins of a well know phrase which shocked me so much that I felt the need to write something about it.

DC Comic’s supervillain ‘Bane’ – was the character’s name chosen because it means murderer?
Source: http://movieweb.com/tom-hardy-bane-fight-batman-superman/

We all probably use a turn of phrase, colloquial saying or some other weird idiomatic expression at least once per day but where do such expressions originate and what do they actually mean? Has the original meaning of these sayings changed over time? If we look at the example in my opening line we often think of ‘bane’ as being some kind of trouble, affliction or ruin but the saying isn’t used as frequently as it used to be. The first recorded use of the word goes back to the Old English Chronicles (circa 1000) in which bane actually meant ‘murderer’ and literally means ‘that which causes death’, such as with a deadly poison. It is commonly used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants such as Ratsbane (rat poison/arsenic), Henbane and Wolfsbane.

Even simple well-known phrases such as ‘OK’ (Okay) may have a distant relationship with murder. This phrase has evolved from many (often disputed) suggested derivations and one of those originates from the First World War, whereby nightly reports from the frontline filed on a good day would report that there were no fatalities or ‘0 Killed’ or simply abbreviated to zero K and written as ‘0K.’ Although this proposed etymology is disputed.

For those of you who like the occasional flutter, gamble or bet you have probably heard of the phrase ‘third time lucky,’ which seems to suggest that you should not quit after two failed attempts at something. It is quite often spoken aloud as a verbal good luck charm just before trying that fateful third attempt, but where did this phrase originate and how could it relate to death? Well there is a belief, in English Law, that a judicial court would set any person who managed to survive three failed attempts at being hung free.

John Henry George Lee (b.1864)

This belief could well relate to John Henry George Lee (born 1864) who later became known notoriously as John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee. Lee, who was born in Devon, England and served in the Royal Navy, was a thief who was convicted of the brutal murder of his employer Emma Keyse at Babbacombe Bay near Torquay in 1885.

Emma was killed with a knife on 15th November 1884. Lee was the only male at the house at the time of the murder and had a previous criminal record and, not to mention, an unexplained cut on his arm, so Lee was arrested. Despite the weak circumstantial evidence against him and his desperate pleas of not guilty Lee was sentenced to death by hanging. Continue reading

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Retro Procrastination

Six chapters into the second draft of my novel and I’m doubting my story’s setting so much that my writing has come to an abrupt halt. Not writer’s block exactly, just a mild panic as to my next move.

Do I continue with the current setting and edit everything at the end with a possible 90K+ words to fiddle with or stop and change it now before I go to far?

As I couldn’t decide what to do next I thought I’d go and clean my writing/retro games room instead. The missus has been nagging me to dust for ages as she cleaned the room last time (all the Dr Who stuff is hers) so, sadly, it was now my turn to do it. As the cliche goes, ‘there’s no time like the present’ so I attacked it head-on for over three hours today and boy did it need dusting!

This room has taken several years to complete and several more again to collect all the games, consoles and figurines that adorn the walls and cupboards. We’re still collecting but, as you can see, we’re drastically running out of space to display things properly without piling them on top of each other.

Sarah Andersen’s scribble explains perfectly how we both managed to accumulate such a lovely collection of Retro games:

How I Spend My Money ©sarah andersen
How I Spend My Money
©sarah andersen

So here’s a few pictures of our lovely, neat and tidy (and dust free) writing/games room:

dsc_0001

Continue reading

The demise of ‘Jumpman’ leads to the meteoric rise of ‘MAR10’ – Happy #NationalMarioDay

MAR10 – #NationalMarioDay

Today marks the celebration of one of the gaming world’s most iconic legends, MARIO the Italian Plumber.

It's a me... Mario!
It’s a me… Mario!

March the 10th was chosen as the best day to celebrate this legend, as some of you may have already guessed, because of the fact that the abbreviated date, Mar 10, looks like the name Mario.

Personally I have always loved all things Nintendo ever since I first played Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and my fascination with the loveable plumber has continued ever since, although he wasn’t always a plumber and originally he wasn’t called Mario, either.

Nintendo Playing Card Company
Nintendo Playing Card Company

Nintendo, a playing card company founded in 1889, moved into the arcade video game arena in 1975 and sought to increase their share of the American market with the launch of the arcade game Radar Scope in 1980. However, although initial market feedback on the arcade cabinets was encouraging, things didn’t go as expected. Due to the logistical error in building the cabinets in Japan, rather than in the US, delays and higher prices due to shipping costs resulted in Radar Scope almost crippling the company. Rivals such as Taito, Namco and SEGA in Japan and Atari, Midway and Williams in the US were cornering the market with their successful and cheaper games. The introduction of horizontal scrolling in Defender (Williams, 1980) aged all other vertical ‘space shooter’ games overnight and for Nintendo of America, a fledgling company with very little clout in the gaming market at the time, it was disastrous.

Radar ScopeNintendo had to ‘send another game to replace the motherboards in each of the 2,000 unsold [Radar Scope] cabinets; that way, they would only have to be redecorated with the colours of the new title’ (Audureau, W., 2014). This saw the start of Nintendo’s ‘Popeye Project’ as the replacement game, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, was originally based around the characters, Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto (as the brute dispatching the barrels at the hapless sailor). Nintendo hoped this new game would tie into the popularity of Popeye after the 1980 release of the film starring the late, great Robin Williams. Unfortunately, due to Nintendo failing to secure the rights to use the Popeye characters, Miyamoto and the team had to re-think the game and design it using their own unique characters. Continue reading

Surviving School

Apart from messing about with Bunsen burners, what else did you play around with at school to annoy your classmates or, if you were brave, the teacher?

Bunsen Burner
Bunsen Burner

Me? Well, I went through comprehensive school in Wales during the 80s, and there was that annoying green slime putty (which you could set ‘time delay’ charges on the ceiling and wait for them to lose their grip and splat onto someone’s head during the lesson), spud guns (if you could nick the potatoes without annoying your Mam too much), IMG_3693cap guns and cap rockets (into which you’d try and squeeze as many caps as possible in order to get the loudest possible ‘explosion’ when you threw it, although probably not in the confines of the classroom!), wet paper balls fired from out of Bic pen cases or pencil toppers launched at people’s heads.

Pencil Toppers
Pencil Toppers

The odd stink bomb strategically placed under the teachers desk or chair leg was guaranteed to clear the classroom and undoubtedly get you detention and/or lines. Whoopee cushions and fart spray, from the joke shop in Porthcawl, were also good for a few laughs but they’d get confiscated if you were caught, and that was just a waste of your pocket money. Continue reading

Happy Saint David’s Day – Where the hell is Wales, anyway?

That’s the question that most Americans will ask as the inhabitants of Wales and all of its expatriates celebrate St David’s Day, today.

The answer, if you were to ask most Americans, would probably be, ‘isn’t that part of England?’ well, no, it certainly isn’t.

Many of my ancestors emigrated to America and it’s a shame that the majority of their descendants may not know of the beautiful land that their ancestors once came from.

Wales, or Cymru as it is in Welsh, is a country bordering with England and is part of the United Kingdom (or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to give it its proper title) along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and today, the 1st of March is St David’s Day.  Continue reading

Celebrating Shakespeare‏

“I would challenge you to a battle of wits,
but I see you are unarmed.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Old Willy certainly had an eloquent way in which to insult people of lower intelligence or those whose stupidity and ineptitude were their most admirable qualities. Now, four hundred years after his death, I wonder what he would think of this ‘modern’ world that we are slowly destroying?

Perhaps this…

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind,
As man’s ingratitude.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

A Touch Of Death

How cool would it be to see the history of an object just by a single touch? You would be able to see everything and everyone that has come into contact with that object since it was first created. You could touch centuries old items and be dazzled by an amazing glimpse into its past – like time travel without the DeLorean or a big blue telephone box.

But what if that object was a murder weapon? Could you handle seeing the gruesome truth behind its bloody past down to every last bone crunching blood-spattered sinew and the heart-ache and suffering that undoubtedly follows?

At first you may be intrigued and become thick-skinned but in the end, as your head quickly fills with sickening images, could you continue?

Eldan Bethy, an Article Phenomenologist (AP), has this exact power.

To read more about Eldan and his work as an AP click on the link below:

A Touch Of Death